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NREL highlights green utilities

The US Department of Energy’s (DoE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its annual assessment of leading utility green power programmes under which consumers can choose to help renewable energies.

According to the NREL analysis, more than 850 utilities across the USA now offer green power programmes. Green power sales in 2008 increased by about 20% to 5 billion kWh 2007, and they represent more than 5% of total electricity sales for some of the most popular programmes. Wind is the primary source of electricity generated for green energy programmes nationwide.

“Despite the economic downturn, utility green power sales continued to expand nationally last year,” says NREL Senior Energy Analyst, Lori Bird. “These utilities are the national leaders.”

NREL has developed ‘Top 10’ rankings of utility programmes for 2008 in the following categories:

  • Total sales of renewable energy to programme participants;
  • Total number of customer participants, the percentage of customer participation;
  • Green power sales as a percentage of total utility retail electricity sales; and
  • The lowest price premium charged for a green power program using new renewable resources.

Ranked by renewable energy sales (kWh/year), the green power programme of Austin Energy (Texas) is first in the nation. Rounding out the top five are Portland General Electric (Oregon), PacifiCorp (Oregon and five other states), Xcel Energy (Minnesota and 7 other states), and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (California).

Ranked by the percentage of customer participation, the top utilities are City of Palo Alto Utilities (California), Lenox Municipal Utilities (Iowa), Portland General Electric, Madison Gas and Electric Company (Wisconsin), and Silicon Valley Power (California).

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